Colts impose suspensions on two players amidst playoff race. On Tuesday, the Indianapolis Colts announced the suspension of wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie and cornerback Tony Brown for three games due to "conduct detrimental to the team." Both players will be sidelined until the conclusion of the regular season. While the team did not specify the exact nature of the behavior that led to the suspensions, it was indicated that the violations were significant enough to warrant severe punishment.
In the NFL, team-imposed suspensions are uncommon because the league typically administers suspensions for violations of player health and safety rules, drug policies, or personal conduct laws.
During the Colts' recent victory over the Steelers on Saturday, both McKenzie and Brown were healthy and inactive. While typically occupying backup roles, these players have played crucial roles throughout the season.
The suspension of McKenzie raises questions, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding star receiver Michael Pittman Jr.'s availability for Week 16 following a hefty hit from Steelers defensive back Damontae Kazee, which resulted in Kazee's ejection and season-long suspension.
Tony Borwn wearing his team's attire
McKenzie, in his seventh NFL season, has seen limited usage since joining the Colts this offseason after an impressive 2022 campaign with the Buffalo Bills. In 13 games with Indy (two starts), he has recorded just 11 catches for 82 yards. In contrast, his performance in the previous season with the Bills showcased significant contributions, totaling 42 catches for 423 yards, four touchdowns, and a rushing score.
Meanwhile, Brown has primarily played a special teams role this season, being on the field for these situations 71% of the time. He has seen action in 12 games, playing 7% of defensive snaps and earning one start.
As the Colts prepare to face the playoff-hungry Atlanta Falcons on the road in Week 16, the absence of McKenzie and the uncertainty surrounding Pittman Jr. add complexity to their receiving corps.